The STAR ECO Station is an environmental education and exotic wildlife rescue center located in Culver City.
The STAR ECO Station is an 18,000-square-foot wildlife rescue center for illegal, abandoned and abused exotic wildlife. The only way to see the place is by taking a volunteer-led tour, which lasts between 45 minutes and an hour. Your small-group tour leads you through a series of rooms beginning with “Oceania,” which features several large tanks of ocean life such as fish and turtles; “Wildcat Sanctuary,” the room with the big cats; “Mayan Reptile Kingdom,” which is the reptile room; and “Tropical Bird Paradise,” home to a toucan, parrots and many other loud squawkers. In each room, the guide explains why the animals are there, why they weren’t great pets and what needs to be done to protect them. During the tour, guides usually take out an animal or two for your group to see up close -- we touched a jungle carpet python and a leopard gecko during our visit. This place gives even little kids an up-close and personal look at a variety of wild animals without the crowds usually encountered at zoos and other animal parks. If your guide is good and the tour group is small, your child will learn a lot about wildlife and the environment. But the Station tour lasts only an hour and you aren’t allowed to roam the premises freely once it ends, so plan accordingly.